Butler County Times Gazette
  • Cox continues service through volunteering

  • John Cox's service did not end with his tour in the U.S. Navy. He currently gives back to the community through countless hours of volunteer service.
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  • John Cox's service did not end with his tour in the U.S. Navy. He currently gives back to the community through countless hours of volunteer service.
    Cox, 68, a Vietnam veteran, grew up in Neosho County, graduated from Rural District #3 High School and joined the Navy when he was 17. Following the service, he came to Augusta and was hired as a temporary worker at Beech Aircraft in Wichita. That temp job lasted more than 39 years.
    When he retired from Beech in 2009 he became more active in the VFW.
    "I started helping the late George Colling with the veterans' graves at the cemetery and in September of 2009, I began volunteering with the Department on Aging," Cox explained and added, "The library outreach program desperately needed someone, so I decided I could help."
    He picks up books from El Dorado's Bradford Memorial Library, which are delivered and exchanged in Leon, Latham, Cassoday and Andover. The deliveries to the Senior Center and library in Leon, the long term care and assisted living and senior center in Andover are monthly. The deliveries to the Cassoday United Methodist Church and Latham Community Center are every other month.
    In addition to the book exchange, Cox also sorts commodities at the Augusta armory, delivers the items to Country Club Towers and to a resident north of Towanda. He also delivers Meals on Wheels to the Towanda resident every two weeks, and enough food for a month to a resident near Leon and two sisters in Rosalia.
    "I see a lot of people. I do like to visit with them. Make sure they are all okay. I consider them my friends. I actually changed my route in order to take them the commodities and they don't have to find a way to get to Augusta," he said.
    It's definitely a labor of love, as he only receives a compensation of 35 cents a mile for fuel. He has arranged food deliveries to coincide with book exchanges to help save on time and mileage.
    Driving through the Flint Hills is part of the attraction for him.
    "I love the drive. I get to see the Flinthills," he said. "People need to stop and see what we've got here. I've done my share of traveling and Kansas and the people here are fantastic."
    Not only does he deliver food items and books, he also installs smoke detectors county-wide on behalf of the Department on Aging.  And he has served on the Board of the Directors of the Augusta Senior Center for the past 2 1/2 years.
    But there's more - he helps with the Department on Aging's annual Spring Fling Resource Fair in El Dorado.
    He is also proud to be a member of the VFW Rifle Squad, assisting in a deserved farewell to the deceased veteran at funerals. He also helps organize Augusta's impressive Memorial Day Ceremony each year at Elmwood Cemetery.
    Page 2 of 2 - Cox was named the Living Legend Veteran in 2012 and he also received the Point of Light Award that same year. The Point of Light Award celebrates individuals who spark change and improve the world.
    The latest passion for Cox is becoming an activist in helping to get federal courts to pursue child abuse cases. He is meeting with Congressman Mike Pompeo later this month.
    "I'm not a political person, but I see a need for change. The plea deals that are being made with abusers is no good. They are getting off too easy at the state and local levels," he advised.
    In addition to volunteering, Cox stays busy with his wife, two daughters, two granddaughters and his great-grandson. And he still finds time to fish. He has no favorite fishing spot, just "wherever there is water."
    "The Department on Aging knows if they need someone, they can call me. I just want to help," he added. "I advise anyone with a little time to volunteer. It feels great to help others."
    The Butler County Department on Aging serves all citizens age 60 and over in Butler County. If you would like to volunteer or need information on programs, call (316) 775-0500 or (800) 279-3655. The website is: http://www.bucoks.com/index.aspx?nid=141
    Belinda Larsen can be reached at blarsen@butlercountytimesgazette.com.
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